The storm breaks

May 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

Today has seen the collapse of our house. I have tried to visit Indie in hospital but the big cast for correcting the muscles in my legs makes it difficult to travel, I wish I could sit there with him today, listening only to the sounds of lives spared and not spared. The fierce industry of hospitals, their many denziens scarred by the process of living.

I became drunk last night and have had the terrible row with Penny, in the kitchen, there was much shouting as I told her we all are knowing that her boyfriend is not nice to her, is maybe even hitting her. She threw things. Jette hear us arguing and comes downstairs, and is horrible and tells Penny the truth that I am hating her man because I am in love with her. I stammer, and wool is suddnely thick in my mouth and I cannot deny the thing. It is as though a cloud above my head has split in two, and rain is now pouring upon me in a shower of little needles. A creeping horror steals into me, raising the hairs on my skin, a cold shadow falls across my heart even though my face burns with anger and misery.

The air that has gone still, full of tension, like a heatwave. Penny’s face has closed up like a prison door, and I feel my heart being locked out of her forever by something as solid and impersonal as iron. She turns on Jette like a little lioness, and shouts things that have long been kept silent in her; Jette is a jealous bitch who has no happiness, who is a ghost of a person, who has no emotions or lasting love because she cannot handle them, she is immature and stupid and selfish, she has no real thoughts or art of her own and so must scorn the work of others even though she could never in a hundred lifetimes hope to create its equal. Jette recoils as though lashed by a whip; her face is so proud, but it falls horribly like a landslide, and everyone runs out of the room in tears but me.

So, there is silence, there is water on the floor, and china shards. The people next door were having a barbeque but have gone curiously silent to listen to us ruin ourselves; slowly, their voices begin to carry again through the window, and I pick up the broken things and wipe the floor, as though I am robotic. Penny’s room, next to the kitchen, is quiet. Jette is blasting out loud music from upstairs, and I left the house and walked slow and painfully down the road to the little cafe that keeps my paintings on the walls, to still the furious beating in my chest and drink some more.

Suddenly darkness.

May 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

Indie is in the hospital.

His drinking became so bad, he was even drinking first thing in the morning – the doctors have taken him there today to look after him, and say that his alcoholism is being a cry for help. We have known that he has the depression badly sometimes, but breaking up with his boyfriend was as they say the last straw. He is going to go to counselling and an alcohol rehabilitation program. I am praying for him.

Jette is not praying for him, and is being her usual self, cynical and hard. I did not even tell her that my hospital visit went so well, because she would take my news like a butterfly and crush it between her fingers. Penny I have told, and her smile for my good fortune was as the lovely sparkle of the Sun when He is playing on the water, sending me into a little trance – but even with her things are changing for the worse.

She does not love me, I think, at all. I think she has only been kissing me drunkenly to upset her Dutch man, who is straying from her. I have not helped myself by being drunk and stupid, acting out and getting into fights, ranting about the past. sometimes I just cannot help it, I am trying so hard to be happy and thinking the positive every day, but when I am drinking, the past comes out like a stain and darkens everything around it.

I am holding my good news like a precious letter to my chest, to keep it safe, and almost more, to use it as armour against the ravages of the world. Stupid, stupid, the grief of the world turns for everyone, and my present happiness is but the lid on the whole rotten barrel of myself.

Worries and futile hopes, like frail baby birds.

May 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sometimes, Jette is so horrible about my thoughts about God, calling me stupid and fearful of the emptiness, putting down faith as though it were a child’s toy that she has long outgrown. She is so full of scorn, for God, for love, for anything that is happy and simple, and now she is being nasty to Penny because she is having troubles with her Dutch man. Says that she is silly, that she would not be stuck in a sad place because she is too clever to be trapped in the monogomas relationships, which, like marriage, are dull and conventional. I am trying hard to remember that her fury and bitchiness stems from the deep unhappinesses, but it is very hard sometimes!

She is not so sympathetic for Indie as we, she says that he has a choice, to change, to stay from the drink. That he has brung the tall tower wall of his misfortune upon his own head, and that she will drive him to the hospital if she has to, but that she will not sit and talk with him over his troubles as we do. My soul recoils from this hardness, as a man backing from the ledge of a big cliff, or a deep, deep well filled with dark water that may hide secrets and bodies.

I do not know why someone who is able-bodied, and attractive with a nice job and a safe warm home should be so angry. I am not trying to make small her experiences of the past, I do not know them and she does not like to discuss her past – but it is very saddening that a beautiful young girl with seemingly no troubles must scratch and snarl against life and others. As you know, I myself am having the manic depressions, and I often wonder if Jette has mental troubles, too. Just because something is not seen, does not mean that it is there.

I am glad, secretly, that Penny is having problems with the man. I am ashamed of my motives for this awful pleasure, but lately her smiles have been like little sunrises to me, and I have tricked and teased them from her as often as possible. Oh, but this is the Pyrrhic victory I did mention a few days ago. At a party, she was very drunk and did kiss me a little, and I did not know how much I wanted her until then. What a triumph! But the terror of such a short-lived happiness! Perhaps I am falling in love, but what could I have to offer her? I cannot leave the house some days with my legs, I am sometimes horribly mad – no, it cannot be. She does not want the insane artist with bad legs for a lover, I am ‘not her type’ I think. Although her face, her silver voice, her graceful rounded limbs and rippling hair -like a pre-raphaelite, an Ophelia in thrift-shop skirts – is becoming to me as vital as my own red blood.

The many roads of destruction.

May 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Indie is in trouble.

His boyfriend has split up with him over his drinking the day before yesterday, and so now he has been drunk for two days. It is awful to see, his eyes are red and swollen, his arms blue and black from falling over outside, he is hoarse from crying; his voice reduced to a sad creaking, a whisper.

He has not eaten properly for many weeks, we think. His clothes hang from him, his skin, once so tanned and healthy looking, is sagging and dull and blossoming with pimples. His bracelets jangle around twig wrists,  his eyes bulge like a hanged man from the deepening sockets in his skull. I think he is needing to go to the hospital, but he will not go. Penny and I are telling him that he must or he might die, but he refuses and says that he just needs a few days to sort himself out. The worry eats at her pretty face, creating lines around her mouth that is usually so smiling.

Her cheese-faced man is not so good for her I think – he is a passive thing, he lets the world bowl him along, like a tumbling weed, he has no directions, and like the rough weeds he is sharp and thorny in places. More than once I have seen her face streaked with the tears from his bitter words, and I think more than once a yellowing bruise upon her skin, like fading petals, is due his fists. She though, will not hear testament against him, and swears his love and honour to us when we are worried for her.

I cannot waste my thoughts on him now, when Indie is so horribly sick. If only there is a way to take the alcohol from him, but he says that he will harm himself if we do, with a knife or with pills. I tell him he is harming himself already, kicking his liver to death, and he lashed out like a snarling bear. He is so thin, wire covered in flesh; the corners of his mouth turned almost comically down, like the lips of a clown. I am certain that if he does not stop drinking then we will find him soon choked on his own vomit in bed, or simply dead in the road. What can be done with such stubborn will to destroy oneself?

Cracks in the wall.

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Jette has been very cynical about the wedding. I showed her the few photographs I took of my beautiful friends being married in an ancient pagan way, in a wild place, and she has turned up her nose, and sniffed, and declared to me that marriage, even that which is most unconventional, is ‘bourgeois’.

Now, this is making me quite angry. I do believe that marriage is a wonderful thing, the pledging of shared lives, love sealed with a kiss before the world. Even Picasso was married three times, and prince of bohemians Modigliani took his tragic muse Jeanne as his common-law wife. I am telling her this with a shrug. I am not ashamed to say that I often do not like Jette very much – she is keen to pounce upon the things she cannot have or understand and declare them silly and worthless, without knowing so much about them. Perhaps she is simply never wanting to get married herself, perhaps she would love to but does not think she will ever find the person and this makes her bitter and venomous as a little snake in a clenched fist. I do not know.

Then, she flies into a rage because she has bought some jeans from the internet, and they have sent the wrong size again, so she will have to post them back and fill out forms and wait. I am clutching the photo of my smiling friends in my hand as she talks, and feel the childish impulse building within me. I stop her, I spit hypocrite, saying that buying expensive jeans online is much more bourgeois than marriage, and that maybe the universe is telling her she does not need so many clothes.  So now she is not speaking to me.

The joining of human hearts.

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

This weekend I travelled a long way, and came to a little corner of the hills that was the place of my dear friend’s marriage.

The wedding was a pagan one; the woman crowned with flowers, ribbons in her hair; the man in a green waistcoat, and their hands tied together by the Earth priest. All in a circle we cheered and whistled as the mated buzzard pair swung in lazy circles above us. Ah, to be surrounded with friends on such a happy day! To see the smiles and tears of joy! The wedding kiss of the man and woman who have taken the thread of their lives and plaited them together, the words of the heart spoken as the rings are slipped on mortal fingers with promises of forever.

And I sat in the sun, with the pretty bunting of ribbons and silk and green boughs speckled with the creamy May flower about me, and thought; how wonderful a thing, what a beautiful day for the weaving of lives, what joy I am taking in my many friends being so glad, how fortunate I am to have seen today like a jewel in the tapestry of my life.

Because my legs are bad, I did not run through the grasses with the others, or leap in dancing – but I have learned through being forced to be still to see deeper, as though I have been half blind all my life, and let all the everyday wonders and mysteries pass me by, so intent have I been on the pictures in my head, always rushing, rushing to the next thing I think has happiness hidden inside it; like a tourist in life, taking a million photographs instead of simply being there.

At the wedding, I noticed the little things. I saw the slant of the sun as it heaved into the long evening, a deeper yellow glinting in people’s hair and softening the lines of the world. I saw the brisk wind chasing wild grass in rippling waves across the land, great swathes of green and yellow stems bending and flashing silvery as a shoal of quick fish. I saw the smoke from the fire, as ancient as only woodsmoke can be, wind towards the sky in great lazy drifts.  I remember the bright red hearts embroidered on a little girl’s dress, the strawberries handed around in a wooden bowl, the sigh as the bride appeared, as though the yearning of a hundred hearts for love drew breath and came alive.

Now I am back in my room, away from the fantastical days sleeping on the land, the emerald grass, the laughter. Returned to my days of listening to the radio and my little anxieties; but I hope that I will take with me the spiritual lessons of this beautiful weekend, and dream at night of ribbons dancing merrily in the wind, and the coloured petals strewn about bare feet, and the deep, cornflower blue of the sky who has seen it all many, many times before.

Loving Ghosts.

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

‘Prince is also a word that rhymes with Quince’

This is Penny to me earlier. So now the tree is Prince Quentin-Quinn the Quince the First.

Today I am a little sad because I have had to say no to a nice lady. We have been friends for a little while, and now she says she would like more. I thought this too, because she is very beautiful and clever, but I think she is wanting too much of me. I feel like she is a rare and delicate flower that is needing, always needing the warm rays of the sun, and I cannot shine for her all the time. She says she may be in love with me, but I can be a very selfish and cold creature at times, and this would be a bitter hard rain on her fragility, and strip the petals and break the stem of the beautiful flower, and I do not want this at all.

Love, love – what a deep and blue mystery is love! So full of golden hope and fierce sorrows! The rich, passionate wine! The garland of wild thorns!

I do not think I am made for the grand passions; I am too in love already with the world and with the art. It sounds arrogant to say that because of this I cannot be in love with a human being, but I have tried often to make love work, and I cannot. The painting and the poetry is the first love, and the reality of men and women must come second, else what is the artist but a sneak about in his own marriage? I am wed to the world and its beauty and horror, what more can a mysterious female or virile male seek to give me with hands and lips? And what do I give them? Nothing. A shell, a make-believe straw person. I cannot give myself to a lover because I dwell in another, fantastical world. They do not make love to a person, but a ghost.

But this is silly. Indie has a relationship that has lasted years, and Penny with her strong Dutch man. Perhaps Jette is more like me, but instead of shying away from the flesh and burying herself in the arms of her art, she seeks it out like a woman awakened in the night searches for the candle, to illuminate something familiar and yet made sinister by the dark. Yet, in her hasty fumblings with all these men, I do not think she is finding what she is looking for, as one by one they fade like flowers at the roadside, into the past, leaving nothing behind. She does not pick the strong boys, only the weak; like a hunting lioness she takes the feeble from the edge of the herd. As though the powerful male would escape, not wishing to be caught, or defend himself against her, and this feminine failure would be as spilled ink across her heart.

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